Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Erich Muhsam Quotes.

"For state and society are two different things. Neither is society an accumulation of all the different organizations and connections within which people order their communal affairs and under which the state exists alongside other institutional forms, nor is the state from among a great many possibilities one of the types of organization in which society can embody itself. It is certainly clear that wherever society exits there is no room for the state, but that wherever the state is it is like a thorn in society’s flesh, it does not permit it to form a people who can socially inhale and exhale, and instead divides them into classes and thereby prevents them from being a society. A centralized construct cannot at the same time be a federalist construct. A system of management organized along authoritarian lines is a government, a bureaucracy, a commanding power, and this is the mark of the state; a community built upon equal rights and mutuality is, when considered within the bounds of their physical proximity, a people, when considered as a general form of human living, a society. State and society are opposing concepts; the one excludes the other."

"To speak of the class state is to speak of wooden wood. The state is and can be nothing other than the centralized executor of a class detached from the people, for the subjugation of a people disenfranchised and reduced to a dominated class. The process of state management thus divides human society into social classes by protecting the land along with the man-made means of production as the property of the privileged class, regulating the permission for the use of the property by the unpropertied class, which is nearly everyone, according to the principles of the sanctity of property privilege and of the preservation of the character of labor’s performance as the hiring out of labor power. The state is made exclusively for this purpose; it has never served another purpose; it could never be made useful to another purpose. Only where the rights of masters stand opposed to the rights of slaves does the state make sense, does it find tasks to carry out. The state could and did come into being only with the inception of personal property for the exploitation of people. With the development of capitalism, which makes the principles of material exploitation by the property owners the entire focus of man’s life, the state constantly enlarges and coarsens the network of legal, supervisory and compulsory measures through which the proletariat is to be maintained in obedience to the privileged class. But again it is the Marxist socialists who along with the materialist world view also want to adopt the centralist mode of organization, this essential characteristic of the capitalist state, as the blue print for the construction of society freed from capitalism."

"Therefore, if certain interpretations of Marxist doctrine wish to convince one that the essence of capitalism is determined by private exploiters’ ownership of the means of production, that their management through the state, however, can be interpreted already as a sign of socialism, then one cannot object strong enough against such a twisted falsification of the basic idea of socialism. State capitalism, even where one prefers to call it state socialism, has not the slightest thing in common with true socialism; it is on the contrary the form of capitalist subjugation most hostile to the spirit of community, mutuality and individual responsibility, without which there can be no socialism"

" A state does not die off, but consolidates itself by developing the foundations on which it rests. The foundations of the state are the capitalist class relations, and it makes no difference whether the class contradictions arise from the private ownership by the few of the earth and the means of work or are brought about by the transferal of the same ownership to select state commanders"

"The wage system is not altered in the slightest by the transferal of private capitalism to state capitalism, yet the wage system is the mark of exploitation."

"The disavowal of power in the social order is the definitive characteristic of anarchy, or, to give positive form to this negative explanation: instead of fighting for some form of power anarchism fights for the people’s socially organized self-possession and self-determination. By power is to be understood every claim to or concession of sovereign authority through which people are divided into governing and governed groups. In this the form of government plays not the slightest roll. Monarchy, democracy, dictatorship represent as types of state only different possibilities in the process of the centralized domination of people. If democracy makes the appeal that it ensures the participation of the entire population in the public administration with equal voting rights for all, then it must be remembered that equal voting rights has nothing to do with equal justice and that precisely the selection of delegates prevents the participation in administration by the delegators and means their representation through successive rulers. Where there are privileges of ownership, no formal equalization of voices can create real equality, and hardly where people’s self-determination lets itself be replaced by the conferment of power. Power rests always on economic superiority, and the abolition of economic superiority with simultaneous maintenance of power brings about under all circumstances the determination of those in possession of power to secure it through regaining economic superiority. Every even temporary law giver, be he supreme court justice, minister or parliamentarian, feels himself elevated above those for whom he can create regulations, thus becoming, even when he wasn’t before, the agent of an elite divorced from the whole with different, increased needs and life goals, ceasing to belong to the class which must direct itself according to the laws and regulations. That shows itself even in the centralistically organized labor organizations. Here an official leadership is endowed with the privilege of determining the guidelines of behavior and the obligations for the rest of the group; command, authority, power arise. Thereby arises further a fundamental separation of interests with the result that the head of the organization takes on a life independent from the members and the management of the organization becomes an end in itself and always holds its own needs more important than the tasks for the sake of which the organization was created."

"It lies in the nature of power not only to defend its continued existence by any means but to make itself materially and spiritually ever stronger, even making its strengthening and expansion the basis of all its actions."

"In the realization that power contains within itself exploitation, regardless who exercises it, regardless for what pretended or actual purpose it is rationalized, further that state and centralization are institutions of power and thus must practice exploitation, regardless what social goals they have set for themselves, anarchism sets itself the task of destroying power as a form of social life, accordingly of destroying every sort of state from the ground up and in its place constructing a federated community of people with equal rights. The frequently raised objection, that the destruction of power presumes through its means of execution once again the use of power, rests on unclear reasoning. For the words power, compulsion and force denote completely different concepts whose equation and confusion have produced disastrous errors even within the ranks of the anarchists themselves. Force is a means of struggles which is not fundamentally different from other means of struggle such as persuasion, deception, passive resistance, etc."

"The claim that anarchist thought is distinctly irreconcilable with struggle which requires the use of physical force or its mechanical reinforcement through use of weapons is an arbitrary distortion of anarchist thought. "

"Whoever is uncomfortable with the use of force in the struggle may avoid it; such matters of personal taste have nothing to do with anarchism. Since anarchism affirms the struggle it cannot differentiate among the external forms of struggle and draw a boundary beyond which struggle is disavowed. The use of compulsion also does not stand in general opposition to anarchist conduct. An opponent vanquished in battle must naturally be prevented from continuing the fight. A social parasite must be coerced into conforming itself to the necessity of forging a shared existence. Such prevention and coercion is compulsion. "

"Force and compulsion become only then unacceptable from the anarchist point of view when they serve a commanding authority, and the superficial equation of the three concepts is thereby explained in that the state by virtue of its power lays claim to the exclusive use of force and compulsion. Anarchism is opposed to state force and state compulsion because it is opposed to state power. But for the sake of clarity in thinking distinction must be made: force is an act of struggle, simply a means to accomplish an end; compulsion is a measure taken in struggle and a means of securing the struggle’s already accomplished end; power is a continuing situation of force and compulsion for the suppression of cravings for equality, is the ruler’s monopoly on force and compulsion wielded from on high."

"It is explained with the claim that jealousy is an inborn and therefore absolutely valid feeling, naturally justified in love, and therefore, as a prop to the reciprocal relationship, morally justifies the spouse’s demand for exclusivity in the sexual partnership."

"No person, man or woman, is constituted by nature so that he should feel throughout his whole life physically attracted to only one suitable individual. "

"With this quality, however, of self-righteously and jealously shutting oneself in with one’s group members like an enclosed fortress against the other clans, the authoritarian family fulfills its true task, which is to engraft onto the youth as they mature along with the sense of family the sense of state, the will to power of one’s own state, enmity toward other states, the desire for conquest, suppression, exploitation of the peoples beyond the state borders, nationalism. "

"Love of one’s home has nothing to do with worship of the fatherland. "

"Love of home is had by him whose growth is promoted by scenic and climatic stimuli. Every animal not torn out of its natural environment feels love of home, without ever distorting it into feeling for fatherland, without ever desiring expanded or armed borders around his home. An animal without a home would reasonably also feel no love of home, at most longing for a home. It is no different with people. Can the young person, poorly nourished, growing up in an unhealthy cellar dungeon, let his gloomy childhood environment shine over his life’s way as an alluring picture of home? Can he — and this is very well the distinguishing feature of love of home — be moved from a distance by the yearning to again be embraced by the hazy circle of his origins? He whose youth had no home, whose home held no joy, he had then no home to which a love could bind him. There is no obligation to love, however, and that one raises love of home to an obligation by having been able to convince someone, whose foot has never touched a sunny patch of homeland, of a fatherland which may demand his dedication, his love, his heroism, his blood and his life, this shows to what degree of distortion the delusion of authority can twist the human soul."

"Freedom is, however, not something which can be granted. Freedom is taken and lived. Furthermore, freedom is not a sum of freedoms, but rather the orderly unity of all life’s circumstances freed from every ruler and every authority. There is no freedom of society when the people live in bondage. The people have no freedom when the society is unfreely organized, centralist, state-like, according to power. The freedom of anarchy is the free confederation of free people in a free society. That person is free who acts voluntarily, who carries out all that he does out of his own recognition of the necessity or desirability of his action. The prerequisite for every person pursuing his affairs only out of voluntary determination is a society which knows no privileges through power or property. All property and all ideal power create dependence, annul thereby every person’s free will in resolution and action, are thus irreconcilable with actual freedom. Therefore, the individualists are wrong when they advance the thesis that every person has a right to freedom, yet this right ends at his neighbor’s freedom. Wherever the right to freedom for the individual finds any sort of limitation there exists no social freedom. For, if the concepts of freedom and free will are fully equated, the freedom of the one can never be impaired by the freedom of the other. Otherwise, the behavior disturbing the freedom of one’s fellow man would amount to laying claim to a privilege, thus would arise the condition of power and subordination. Yet whoever wishes to exercise privilege and power is thereby dependent on the compliance of fellow men, he himself thus no longer acts independently. Hence results again the complete unity of society and individual and the correctness of the above proposed claim that no one can be free unless all are free. There still remains to dispense with the old objection that people’s freedom founders on the facts of experience, which prove a lack of independence on the part of most people and their dependence upon a leader. Aside from the fact that the majority’s lack of independence is the result of education by all the authoritarian powers which have ever exploited the people’s souls and labor power, the undoubted correctness of the truism, that there are various talents, and that for certain requirements direction from suitable experts is necessary, can only be asserted as proof for the natural necessity of social bondage by people who under the influence of authoritarian education have lost every belief in freedom and are themselves striving for power. We anarchists disdain a leadership with the power of command and ensured of extended operation, that is, every state government, bureaucracy and central party, every dictatorship and every croneyist regime. But we deny neither the usefulness of the director in the theater or chairperson at a meeting nor of the captain on a ship. Here personal qualities assign certain tasks to the appropriate persons in certain cases. The same holds true in political struggle and just as well in an uprising or in fending off armed aggression. Just as a wandering herd follows the lead animal, which is not chosen but rather takes the lead because it is confident of the best trail, but when tired can immediately be replaced by any other animal, so it is with people, too. There are spokesmen, there are ringleaders, that is, people who are followed because they bring the will of all most clearly to expression or set themselves into action with the most determination. A leader is one who shows the way, not whoever gives laws or leads followers around behind him on a leash".

"Anarchism is the teaching of freedom. Where there is exploitation, where there is power, where authority holds sway, where centralism exists, where man keeps guard over man, where orders are given and obedience offered there is no freedom. The destruction of all authorities, all privileges, all institutions of property and slavery can come to pass only out of the free communal spirit. The stateless community of free people, — that is communism, the solidarity of equals in freedom, that is anarchy! "

"The path of anarchy is therefore first of all a path of revolutionary preparation. Preparation for revolution occurs in a three-fold way: through propaganda, whereby the essence of the reprehensible conditions is demonstrated and their removal and the creation of desirable conditions encouraged; through self-education, in that the perception of bad institutions arouses the intention to change them; and finally through struggle. The anarchist doctrine contains nothing which would exclude any person from the preparations for revolution who did not exclude himself through his own behavior. Communist anarchists are anyhow in pretty much general agreement that the removal of evil organizations and institutions is not to be demanded from those who have created them or derive benefit from them, but rather that all liberation is a matter for those who bear the bonds of oppression. The struggle against property rights is to be lead by those to whom property is denied, the struggle against exploitation and oppression by those who are exploited and oppressed, the struggle against lordly privilege by slaves and the disenfranchised. Equality, mutuality and self-determination according to the social conscience are to be aggressively prepared by those at whose cost inequality and privilege, authority and anti-social self-interest play themselves out. The liberation of society from the state is thus to be achieved primarily by that class for whose oppression the capitalist system requires the state, whose submissiveness is perpetuated through the authority of church and state, through the power structures of patriarchy and monogamy, through the habituation to centralistic forms of organization for the attainment of hostile divisions within all areas of life, through the fostering of patriotic and racist arrogance, through laws, punishments, taxes, through joblessness, hunger, misery, bad air, paternalism and humiliation. Liberation from the state is liberation from class enslavement; the enslaved class must be the carrier of the struggle for liberation. The struggle for communist anarchy is therefore to be conducted during the period of revolutionary preparation as a class struggle."

"The insight that the state’s delineation of borders is an expression of the class system, in that the artificial estrangement of the workers of the different nations through the breeding of national prejudice prevents the alliance of the exploited, — this insight was the guiding thought in the understanding reached at the First International. The fundamental motto of the gathered laboring class, however, was the vow of independence of the proletariat in its opinions and conclusions. The liberation of the laboring class must be the work of the laborers themselves! In this assertion is contained the profession of faith in individual responsibility, in equality, in mutual aid and in free will, just as international unity likewise proclaims the negation of the state, and thereby of centralization, supremacy and authoritarian power. Only the infiltration of Marxist doctrine into the class struggle concept brought the dissolution of class unity as well as of the internationalism of the workers. Under the influence of Marxism the workers created for themselves centralistic party and union organizations, mandated officers for the discernment of the workers’ interests, whereby they placed their struggle for liberation into the hands of superior representatives, took part in the state’s parliamentary elections, so that the state with its national borders again attained for them an objective significance, and let themselves be caught up by state-administered socialism. Thus has the worker become citizen, and his struggle against exploitation is wrecked on the contradiction that he supports and strengthens the public apparatus determining the exploitation. "

"So much the more must anarchists’ behavior in the battle against opposing views be perfectly honorable. Dirty fighting methods, suspicions, slander, crooked paths toward deception of comrades and enemies harm under any circumstances the persuasive force of an idea whose strength is its purity"

"At home he exercises no authority, nor does he tolerate any. In sexual matters he follows the paths which he holds proper without worrying which way others go. No woman belongs to a man, no man to a woman. What two mature people do in private to please one another is nobody else’s business, not the husband’s nor the wife’s, not the neighbor’s nor the comrade’s, not the church’s nor the state’s. Anarchist men and women are not rulers over their children, are rather their companions and helpers. Those who beat their children misuse their physical superiority to create a power relationship, thereby reinforcing the power and authority of state and capital and, by beating the insanity of power into their child, thereby curse future generations. The anarchist does not believe in gods or spirits, nor the words of priests or the claims of scientists which he cannot check for himself. He does not concern himself with street gossip nor with momentary fashions in matters of art and world view. He goes straight ahead down his own path, responsible to himself and his conscience, responsible to humanity which he knows to be one with himself and his conscience. He does what is right, since he knows what right is. For right and freedom are the same, as society and individual are the same. Out of right grows the equality of communism, out of equality the freedom of anarchy! "

The liberation of society from the state: What is communist anarchism? - Erich Mühsam


Friday, 23 January 2015

Quotes from Wayne Price- Anarchism & Pragmatism.

Very clear, concise,informative, well argued, considered and thoughtful essay!  10/10!


The philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways; the point is to change it.” (Marx, 1938)

"“Pragmatism,” in popular speech, is regarded as meaning a shallow opportunism. This is not its philosophical meaning. Philosophically, it means, literally, “practicalism” or “praxis.” William James (who initiated the pragmatic movement) called much of his philosophy “radical empiricism.” John Dewey (who continued to develop pragmatism) preferred the label “instrumentalism” or “experimentalism.” "

We have no “God’s eye view” of the world. For us there is no “absolute truth.” (Accepting that we may be wrong about anything is “fallibilism.” But pragmatism rejects the idea that we cannot know anything at all, which it calls “skepticism.”) All we can know about anything is to create the best, most “truthful” belief—to produce enough evidence to make a “warranted assertion.”

Central to pragmatism is the idea of “lived experience,” or active experience. Experience does not exist in our heads or in our bodies but in the active interaction (or transaction) between our selves and the world. We act on the world and it acts on us. Our actions change the world, as it changes us. We experience our actions and their consequences. “Actions” include touching and moving things as well as looking and thinking about things. Our experience is not a passively mirrored reflection of external reality (according to a crude “correspondence” theory of truth). Rather it is an active creation of sensations, pictures, models, and operations which we use to cope with reality. Faced with some problem, we have to work out a way to solve the problem, by enquiry. We may rely on those things which are not problematic at this time, develop hypotheses as to how to deal with those that are, and then act on the problem to see if our hypothetical solution will resolve the uncertainty. This is a “scientific” approach to enquiry, although not literally using the exact same techniques of physics or chemistry in solving social difficulties.
The basis of pragmatism has sometimes been formulated as “The truth (or the good) is what works.” To pragmatists, this does not mean that “the truth” is what makes us feel good in the short term, or that “the good” is what is immediately expedient. By “works,” it means works overall, over time, and for a community of enquirers. Nor does the formula mean that there is no objective reality. Exactly the contrary. A hypothesis can only be said to work if it somehow matches with independent reality. A key can only work to open a lock if it fits the lock, which does not mean that it looks like (or “represents”) the lock.
They are instruments of satisfying my needs, reaching my goals, and realizing my values, and therefore resolving my problems. They were each made through someone’s actions (including measuring and digging, or painting). They may be checked for accuracy by my further actions (such as driving on the roads or digging for minerals).
Our experiences are never just between us and the physical environment. They are social. We could not think without the language and concepts that came from our cultural environment. Our experiencing is communal, as is that of science. Like scientists, we do best when we can exchange ideas and experiences, share thoughts, and argue out competitive solutions. Enquiry is social and works best when cooperative.
Pragmatism is a commitment to this idea of cooperative enquiry and experiencing in all areas. This is the ground for its belief in participatory democracy. It rejects rule by “enlightened” experts. The more that the people themselves are directly involved in working together to develop their culture and satisfy their needs, in pooling their experiences, the better they will do. This means a pluralistic openness to the experiences of the marginalized, the outcaste, and the oppressed: the working class, African-Americans (West 1989), women (McKenna 2001), and others.
Pragmatism distinguishes between “democracy” as an ideal to be striven for and “democracy” as a label—and not a very accurate one—for the existing state. Similarly there is a distinction between “democracy” as the machinery of a state and “democracy” as a way of life, something which pervades every aspect of a society: its politics, its culture, its religion, its economy, and its relationships
Pragmatism does not accept the distinction between “facts” and “values.” Even the most objective science involves the value of truth. In our experiences, we will have problems with values, conflicts between different moral standards, questions about the right way to behave. Factually, human beings have moral and other values (leaving aside a few psychopaths). All our values are never in question at once. Basing ourselves on those values we are not questioning at this time, and on whatever facts are relevant to the situation, people can do the same as with other problematic situations: work out hypotheses, and then act on them to see if they can resolve moral problems.
From this perspective, means and ends interpenetrate. Ends “justify” means, but only if the means really lead to the desired end (the “end-in-view”) and do not have negative side products (other, unwanted, consequences). Dewey also applied his method to aesthetics. His key concept here was that art aims at “consummatory” experiences, which are fulfilling in themselves, even as they lead on to the next experience.
The whole point of philosophy, to Dewey and James, was to deal with the problems of people, not only professional academics. Pragmatism aims to provide methods for coping with difficulties in culture, science, politics, economics, and social thinking and behavior.
Jurgen Habermas…remarked that American pragmatism should be seen as the ‘radical-democratic branch of Young Hegelianism’…” (Westbrook 2005; p. 124
Dewey completely rejected Hegel’s determinism and teleology. (Teleology is the belief that processes have inevitable ends built into them—such as the Marxist belief that “socialism is inevitable”). He saw the world as still open, still being made. Perhaps he went too far in rejecting historical determination, as I will argue in Part II.
"Dewey had a radical conception of democracy. As mentioned, he was a liberal. He supported the US imperial state in World War I and II, the Korean War, and the Cold War, and he opposed any idea of revolution. But unlike most liberals, he did not support Roosevelt’s New Deal. He tried to build a third party to the left of the Democrats. He came to reject capitalism and advocate the socialization of the economy. He defended the rights of women and of African-Americans. He supported union organizing and the struggle for teacher unionism. He was active in the anti-war movement before Pearl Harbor. He played a key role in giving the exiled Leon Trotsky a hearing in Mexico after his frame-up by Stalin (the “Dewey Commission”). Of course, he was the leader of the movement for progressive education. None of this makes him an anarchist, but neither was he a moderate sort of wishy-washy liberal."
“The identification of the idea of democracy and the idea of community may be Dewey’s most characteristic doctrine” (Manicas 1982; p. 143).
Dewey’s vision of democracy was participatory and decentralized. He advocated a federalism which would be rooted in local communities with directly democratic decision making. “In its deepest and richest sense a community must always remain a matter of face-to-face intercourse…. Democracy must begin at home, and its home is the neighborly community” (Dewey, quoted in McKenna 2001; p. 121).
"Dewey rejected state socialism in favor of worker management of cooperative industries. “He was drawn to various forms of decentralized socialism” (Westbook 2005; p. 96). This included an attraction to the British guild socialists (a reformist version of anarcho-syndicalism). He wrote that he wanted a “cooperative society where workers are in control of industry and finance as directly as possible through the economic organization of society itself rather than through any superimposed state socialism” (quoted in Westbrook 2005; p. 92). “Dewey was thinking of workers’ management and education for workers’ management” (Goodman 1970; p. 84). Workplace democracy he saw as important not only for political reasons but for the sake of the worker’s creative and personal growth. (For more information on Dewey’s views on industrial democracy, see Ryan 1997 and Westbrook 1991, also Stikkers 2009.) "
"Whatever Dewey thought, there is not a big step to anarchism from a program of decentralized and participatory democracy, including workers’ management of socialized industry. It is virtually the anarchist goal. When everyone is involved in governing then there is no government. Anarchism is democracy as a way of life, without the state. A federation of workplace councils, community assemblies, and a popular militia (so long as it is needed) would be capable of coordinating society, developing from-below economic plans, and protecting its people. It would be the self-organized people and not a state. That is, it would not have a socially-alienated bureaucratic-military state machine standing separate and above the rest of society"
"While Dewey never called himself an anarchist, his pragmatist predecessor did. In his last decade, William James came to identify himself as an anarchist (Coon 1996). In his 1907 Pragmatism, publically published, he declared that there were two types of people with attitudes toward “government, authoritarians and anarchists” (James 1981; p. 9). He went on to criticize the “airy and shallow optimism of current religious philosophy” (p. 16) by referring to the work of a well-known radical who had championed the homeless and unemployed: “that valiant anarchistic writer Morrison I. Swift. Mr. Swift’s anarchism goes a little farther than mine does, but I confess that I sympathize a good deal…” (p. 16). "
"In the 1970s and ‘80s, a professional philosopher, Peter T. Manicas, made contributions to the study of the relation between pragmatism and anarchism (Manicas 1974; 1982). He proposed to “take a fresh look at [Dewey’s] writings from the vantage point of anarchism” (1982; p. 134). He concluded, “Dewey’s idea of democracy…is anarchist… contain[ing] a view of an ideal, noncoercive, nonauthoritarian society; [and] a criticism of existing society and its institutions, based on this antiauthoritarian ideal…” (p. 136). Influenced by Murray Bookchin, Manicas declared that “the democratic community presupposes radical decentralization—the dissolving of the dinosaur industrialized nation-state and the disintegration of the monster institutional complexes of present-day societies” (1974; p. 251). Pointing to ecological and other problems of oversized and overcentralized industrial societies, he advocated federations of integrated, collective, directly-democratic, communities. "
"A few other authors have written one or two papers on the anarchist/pragmatist relationship, such as Bartenberger (2014), DeHaan (1965), and Pereira (2009). Dabrowsky & Schmidt have written, “…Anarchism and pragmatism have an essentially symbiotic relationship; pragmatist principles bolster the anarchist case and vice versa” (2014; p. 1). (There are also a few people calling themselves “anarcho-pragmatists,” who are pro-capitalist, false “libertarians.” Since real anarchists oppose capitalism as well as the state, I will ignore such people.) "
"The intersection of anarchism and Deweyan educational theory and practice is a fascinating topic. (Paul Goodman would be an important figure in any such discussion.) But I am not going into it here."
"John Dewey explained his nonrevolutionary views in a few places. In his 1935 Liberalism and Social Action, he asserted, “Liberalism must now become radical, meaning by ‘radical’ perception of the necessity of thorough-going changes in the set-up of institutions and corresponding activities to bring the changes to pass.” (McDermott 1981; p. 647). Such changes, he stated, included “a socialized economy” (p. 662). But the “corresponding activities to bring the changes to pass” did not include working class revolution. "
"Dewey favored class struggles in the limited sense of workers’ forming unions and striking, but rejected such struggles culminating in workers’ revolution. In that sense he denounced “class struggle whose spirit and method are opposed to science” (p. 654). “The question is whether force or intelligence is to be the method upon which we consistently rely…” (pp. 656–7). Manicas responds, “Dewey’s absolutist either/or, either force or intelligence, is unwarranted. No serious revolutionary, not Marx, not Lenin, not even Bakunin, so tied his hands in the way that Dewey suggests…” (2008; p. 16). "
"Dewey recognized that “our [political] institutions, democratic in form, tend to favor in substance a privileged plutocracy” (McDermott 2008; p. 661). "
"Dewey admitted to “one exception….When society through an authorized majority has entered upon the path of…great social change, and a minority refuses by force to permit the method of intelligent action to go into effect. Then force may be intelligently employed to subdue and disarm the recalcitrant minority” (p. 662). Even in this case, Dewey does not advocate preparing the workers and oppressed to be ready to resist and defeat “the recalcitrant minority.” He does not advocate warning the people ahead of time that this might happen. The whole of his influence would be to direct the “authorized majority” into legal and electoral channels. This would disarm the working people in the face of what is not at all an “exception” but is the most likely probability. "
"Such an overturn might even be fairly nonviolent: IF the big majority of the population is united behind it and determined to carry it through--IF the ranks of the military (the daughters and sons of the working class) come over to the side of the majority--and IF the ruling class is demoralized (especially if revolutions have been successful in most other countries). All this is possible, but….iffy. For example, the October Russian revolution which brought the Soviets to power had minimal bloodshed. It was only later, when foreign imperialists pumped up counterrevolutionary forces into fighting a civil war, that the revolution became bloody (and the worst traits of the Bolsheviks were encouraged). It is likely that the US ruling class will try to resist loosing its power and wealth, as violently as “necessary.” The best way to limit their violence is to be prepared: to organize the workers and oppressed as solidly and strongly as possible.
Dewey and his followers often refer to the US political traditions of democracy, liberty, and equality. Dewey openly admired Thomas Jefferson. Yet he never discussed the US revolution, of which Jefferson was a leader. Apparently at least one revolution—“violent” and “bloody” as it was—was a good revolution, consistent with the dictates of “intelligence.”
In brief, Dewey’s naive faith in the probability of legally and peacefully taking away the capitalist class’ wealth and power, does not seem to be based on creative intelligence but on a fixed prejudice. "
"Hook’s main goal was to expound a “revolutionary interpretation” of Marx. In the course of his book, he answered most of the arguments which had been and would be raised against revolution. Hook focuses on Marx’s theory of the state. “…It is Marx’s theory of the state which distinguishes the true Marxist from the false….Since the acceptance of the class theory of the state is the sine qua non of Marxism, to be a Marxist means to be a revolutionist” (pp. 270, 273). He interprets Marx as saying that the state is an organ of a ruling class; therefore the existing state cannot be used to remove its own ruling class and to liberate its working class and oppressed. "
" Hook believed that Marx’s speculations of a peaceful revolution were unrealistic even at the time he made them, let alone a century later. "
"I agree that Hook was wrong to make political repression of the bourgeoise, after a revolution, into an apparent principle. It should be a matter of expediency, with as much freedom as possible for everyone and political repression only if necessary (if they organize sabotage and armed counterrevolution). Making repression a principle reflected Hook’s Leninism. "
"Christopher Phelps has sought to revive interest in Sidney Hook’s revolutionary period (Phelps 1997). He argues that Deweyan pragmatism is still consistent with a socialism which is revolutionary, democratic, and Marxist-- a socialism-from-below. He rejects arguments that it was Hook’s pragmatism which led him to move to the right. However, Phelps’ Leninism (and Trotskyism) mar his efforts to make a radically-democratic case for a pragmatic Marxism. Granted that Lenin was not Stalin, he and Trotsky did establish a one-party police state which laid the basis for Stalinism. Phelps does not consider the alternate approach for a radically-democratic socialism-from-below--namely revolutionary anarchism"
"Influenced by Hegel, pragmatism has a holistic and dynamic viewpoint. It includes some of the most positive aspects of Marx’s method, while rejecting its rigid determinism and teleology. It shares with anarchism a belief in radical, decentralized, democracy, including in the industries of a socialized economy. Like anarchism, it seeks to replace authoritarian rule by cooperative self-determination through discussion, intelligence, and collective problem-solving. Pragmatists have usually rejected the need for a social revolution, but there have been some who have seen its necessity.
It is possible to be a pragmatist in philosophy and a revolutionary anarchist, or so I believe. I think this combination provides the best tools for consistent revolutionary praxis. It is at least worth exploring. "

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Afed Aims and principles scots.

Ettles an Principles
This Scots translation is based on an outdated version of the Aims & Principles which will be updated.
1. The Anarchist Federation is an organization o revolutionary cless fecht anarchists.  Oor ettle is the cowpin o aw hierarchy, an we swink for the biggin o a warld-wide clessless society, anarchist-communism.
2. Capitalism is foondit on the exploitation o the workin cless bi the rulin cless.  But iniquity an exploitation kythes in terms o ‘race’, gender, sexuality, heal, ability an age forby, an i thir weys ae pairt o the workin cless dounhauds anither.  This sinders wi, the affcome an inlaik o cless unity in strauchle that siccars the rulin cless.  Dounhauden groups is stelt up wi autonomous action that challenges social an economic pousty relationships.  Tae win at wir goal we maun drap owerance o ilk ither at a personal as weel as political level.
3. We trew that fechtin racism an sexism is as important as ither aspecks o the cless weir.  Anarchist-communism canna be won at whil sexism an racism still exists.  For tae be utile in thair battle conter their dounhaudin baith inwi an outwi the workin cless, weemen, lesbians an gays, bleck fowk micht whiles want guidin efter theirsels.  Houanever this soud be as workin cless fowk as cross-cless movements hides rael cless differences an is wanwordie for thaim.  Ful emancipation canna be achieved withoot that capitalism is abolished.
4. We are opposed til the ideology o naitional liberation movements that claims the’r some common interest atweish the native bosses an the workin cless in the face o fremmit dominion.  We div uphaud workin cless kyauves again racism, genocide, ethnocide, an political an economic colonialism.  We oppose the dounsittin o onie new rulin cless.  The workin cless hes nae kinrik an naitional lanimers buist be owerset.  We seek tae big an anarchist internaitional for tae swink wi ither libertarian revolutionaries oot-thru the warld.
5. Forby exploitin an scomfishin the plurality o shither, capitalism threatens the warld wi weir an the tashin o the environment.
6. It’s no prestable tae cowp capitalism athout a revolution, that will be breirdit ooten cless tulyie.  The rulin cless maun be utterly owergane for tae win at anarchist-communism.  Akis the rulin cless winna relinquish their pousty athout uisin airmed force, this revolution will be a time o violence forby liberation.
7. Unions, ower the heid o their verra naitur, canna be the graith o a revolutionary transformation o society.  They hae tae be acceptit bi capitalism for tae function an syne canna play a pairt in its owerturnin.  Tred unions sinders the workin cless (atwixt employed an unemployed, tred an craft, skilly an unskilled an siclik).  E’en syndicalist unions is hirpled wi the fundamental naitur o unionism.  The union maun can guide its membership for tae mak daels wi managers.  Their ettle, thru negotiation, is tae achieve a fairer furm o exploitation for the labour-force.  The interests o leaders an representative will aye be different fae oors.  The boss cless is oor enemy, an whil we hiv tae fecht for better conditions fae it, we hae tae realize that refurms we coud achieve theday micht be tynt themorra.  Oor hindmaist ettle must be the complete abolition o wauge-thirlage.  Workin athin the unions can nocht ever achieve this.  Housever we divna threap for fowk tae quit unions tae they’’e makkit irrelevant wi the revolutionary event.  The union is a common corse for monie workers.  Rank an file initiatives micht strenthen us in the battle for anarchist-communism.  Whit’s important is that we guide wirsels collectively, threapin for swinkers tae guide their struissles thirsels.
8. Jonick liberation can anely come aboot thru the revolutionary self-action o the swinkin-cless on a mass scale. An anarchist-communist society disna juist mean co-operation atween marras, but fersell involvement in the shapin an creatin o thon society durin an efter the revolution. In times o brulyie an strauchle fowk will hae tae create their ain revolutionary organizations run bi awbody in thaim. Thir auntonomous pairtisays will be outby the owerance o political pairties, an athin thaim we will lairn monie important lessons in self-activity.
9. As anarchists we organize in aw airts o life tae try tae forder the revolutionary process.  We trew a strang anarchist organization is necessar tae help us til thon end.  Unalik ither sae-cawed socialists or communists we divna want pousty or guidance for oor organization.  We recognize that the revolution can anely be cairred oot direckly bi the workin cless.  Houanever, the revolution hes tae be preceded bi organizations able tae convince fowk o the anarchist-communist alternative an method. We jyne in strauchle as anarchist-communists, an organize on a federative basis.  We ort sectarianism an tyauve for a unitit, revolutionary, anarchist movement.

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Angry Workers of the World, Why we can't go back to 1945 keynesianism.

"If we look at the social situation that pushed the ruling class in the UK into adopting 'neoliberal' and 'finance sector' oriented political strategies - rather than just seeing it as a political 'choice' made by Thatcher and Reagan - then we can see that there is 'no easy way back' in the sense of Keynesian measures. The process of financialisation in the late 70s and 80s was an expression of a deeper profit crisis and of credit-based global expansion, but it was first and foremost, the only way to deal with the collective unrest of the working class."

"One sign that 'international markets' had little trust in the ability of the UK government to get things back on track was the pound Sterling Crisis in 1976, a dramatic and sudden slump in the pounds value. It is rarely mentioned that the IMF mobilised what was, at the time, their biggest ever loan package and in return asked for a 20% reduction in deficit spending. This, Britain's very own structural adjustment policy, and not Thatcher, introduced 'neoliberal measures' in the UK. "

"If we take into account the two major slumps in 1973 and 1976, the social pact between Labour and trade union bureaucracy in 1975 and the internationally concerted austerity plan (IMF loans) then we can get a sense of the severity of the attacks: in this context, the strike wave of the 'Winter of Discontent' in 1978-9 was outstanding and a signal to the ruling class that something qualitatively different had to happen in order to take on working class militancy"

"There is no generalised plan for a material restructuring as such, but we see connections between current changes in 'knowledge production' (casual contracts for lecturers, attraction for foreign students, new forms of cheap 'flexible qualifications'); the shifts in production and manufacturing (turning Ford Dagenham from an assembly fortress into 'global engine export hub); the expansion of the logistics sector (London Gateway, Dubai Port, Cross Rail etc.); development of a new 'energy-regime' (fracking, 'green-lean tech); and the 'Big Society'/Serco-isation type of restructuring of 're-production', also in order to tackle high costs in social 'care' and policing ('community care', outsourcing and reorganisation of public services). Without having to credit state and capital with a cohesive plan which they don't have we should try to see developments like 'fracking' and the protests against it within this wider context of general restructuring."

"Our criticism towards the (radical) left is that the cuts are too often interpreted as merely the 'self-serving' measures of unappetising Tories who want to feed their banker friends. While we don't deny this personal aspect of the austerity regime we think that this point misses a) the systemic context of austerity, which first of all shows the weakness and fragility of their regime; b) the fact that it is not only about 'saving money' in different departments, but to put pressure on the social wage of the working class - from nursery cuts, to the bedroom tax, to public sector redundancies; c) which means that the working class is not merely affected as 'receivers of benefits', but the social rate of exploitation is supposed to be increased; d) which shifts the perspective slightly: exploitation depends on the question of how they make us work or comply with their measures, which shows their dependency on us; e) recent years have not only brought about increasing social 'atomisation', but also conditions which have the potentials for a more general fight-back: e.g. 'unemployment' or 'the unemployed' are not aliens, no matter how much propaganda is spewed to the contrary, but a biographical experience of nearly every worker. 'The low wage segment' does not only consist of isolated copy-machine operators, but for example, of cleaners in areas of enormously high urban density, of call centre workers in large offices or warehouse workers, who supply hundreds of large supermarkets with goods. We have to analyse where the austerity attack on conditions comes together with new forms of concentration (concentration of common conditions or concentration in terms of workplaces) in order to find potentials for a collective response. "

"Here we see the political squeeze for the state: the short-term figures require further spending cuts and these cuts cause social frictions. The state therefore has to make sure that the cuts don't hit everyone in the same way, the cuts have to be functional in a sense of 'divide-and-rule'"

"Socially the extent of the 'low wage segment' is largely kept invisible. While the question of 'benefit claimants' and general poverty is more widely debated, either to blame or to pity the 'poor', the fact that increasing numbers are working for a poverty wage is ignored. A modern capitalist country can deal with 'marginalised sections' by stigmatisation, social welfare or control, but if its representatives have to admit that not only does the system have little to offer to 'hard-working' people, but that the expansion of the low wage sector and increasing work pressure is the only way out of the crisis they can propose, then this looks too bleak for their taste. It also sheds a different light on their 'recovery', once we emphasise that four out of five jobs created after 2010 belong to the low wage segment (wages below 60% of average pay, meaning around £7.70 p.h.). "

"We have to state that most of the 'anti-austerity struggle' so far has been closely linked to the (electoral) politics of the Trotzkyite populist left. We say this based on our (limited) experience within 'Hackney against the Cuts', during ATOS and Save the NHS protests (Ealing), bedroom tax protests (Tower Hamlets) and 'Peoples' Assemblies'. Either the protest gave a platform to Labour politicians, called for 'putting pressure on Labour councillors' rather than for direct action or for voting or standing as an candidate for the Trade Union and Socialist Coalition (TUSC). By now we would feel uncomfortable to mobilise work-mates or other working class people to these protests. This is not due to sectarianism, but the belief that the instrumentalisation of these 'protests' through the left parties will either put people off or will end in disillusionment of 'failed' electoral politics. Things look similar when it comes to initiatives like the national shop-stewards network, which seems now completely in the hands of the SP and reduces itself to 'attempting to push the TUC to call for a 24-hour general strike'. Comrades in Scotland told us about similar developments when it comes to the 'Radical Independence Campaign': the struggle about concrete social issues is replaced by a struggle for a post-independence 'socialist Scotland'. We want to learn from comrades who take part in genuine efforts (the various 'coalitions against poverties', self-organised ATOS protestors, local housing groups etc.) by debating their experiences in a wider context. "

"Within the radical milieu in London we observe as strong tendency towards individual professionalisation (academic career, becoming paid 'organisers') and individual impoverishment. The income differences within 'the scene' increase at a faster pace than in the rest of society. Collective efforts become increasingly difficult (squatting law, lack of resources). We feel a great need to address these tendencies on two levels: a) what is our critique of a 'profession' and of 'movement jobs'; b) how can we discuss and organise jobs and reproduction collectively and politically again. The (autonomist) left addresses this problem of 'professional precarity' and 'fragmented struggles' by digging out old, well-meaning, but finally individualising concepts like the 'guaranteed income demand', which we have to criticise. [5]"

"Recent mobilisations against EDL marches and debates about the rise of UKIP revealed the problems of 'anti-fascism' of the left. By siding with 'democratic' state forces (local Labour councillors or 'community leaders') against the far-right, the left fails to address the fundamental questions when it comes to understanding the far-right threat: the material question of 'competition on the labour-market' (UKIP) and problems of 'communities' (EDL) cannot be answered by 'liberal multiculturalism' or democratic appeals towards 'social unity'; facing this type of left-politics even the populist right-wing rank-and-file can present themselves as 'rebels' against neoliberalism - while the official party doctrine and leadership is quite clearly neoliberal. A proletarian critique of the notion of the 'community' and of the 'inbuilt fascism' of the democratic state is as necessary as a critique of 'national protectionism' as an answer to competition on the labour market or (language, cultural) fragmentation at work or in the proletarian areas"

- https://libcom.org/blog/never-mind-bankerssome-thoughts-uk-crisis-06052014

 Also relevant

Forget the ‘golden age’ of capitalism: there’s no return, and our future can be better

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Radical Vegan arguments.

Donna Haraway’s When Species Meet.
 Carol Adams, The Sexual Politics of Meat

"Ethical veganism is the notion that we should not eat, wear, or use animals for human purposes. Ethical veganism reflects the view that we cannot distinguish among various types of animal exploitation for moral purposes and that we should abolish animal exploitation altogether.
Ethical veganism is the application of of the principle of abolition in one’s individual life and requires that one eschew all forms of animal use or consumption.
Ethical veganism recognizes that all sentient beings have an interest not only in not suffering but in continuing to live. Therefore, killing animals for human use, even if we have treated animals “humanely,” is fundamentally unjust."

"Why do we fight for women’s reproductive rights but ignore the exploitation of the reproductive organs of chickens and cows intrinsic to egg and milk production?"

"I am a vegan because I am an animal"- is meat eating cannibalism?

Not vegan/consistent in being pro-animals :  Vegan Society UK, Peter Singer,

“If you are a feminist and are not a vegan, you are ignoring the exploitation of female nonhumans and the commodification of their reproductive processes, as well as the destruction of their relationship with their babies;
If you are an environmentalist and not a vegan, you are ignoring the undeniable fact that animal agriculture is an ecological disaster;
If you embrace nonviolence but are not a vegan, then words of nonviolence come out of your mouth as the products of torture and death go into it;
If you claim to love animals but you are eating them or products made from them, or otherwise consuming them, you see loving as consistent with harming that which you claim to love.
Stop trying to make excuses. There are no good ones to make. Go vegan.”  - November 17, 2013

“Being vegan is not just a matter of being ‘kind’ to animals.  First and foremost, it is a matter of being just and observing our moral obligation to not treat other sentient beings as things.”

"Humans treat animals as things that exist as means to human ends.  That’s morally wrong. Sexism promotes the idea that women are things that exist as means to the ends of men.  That’s morally wrong.  We need to stop treating all persons — whether human or nonhuman — as things.”

“There is a tendency to see inherent or intrinsic value as some mysterious concept.  It’s not.  It just reflects the reality that some things–nonsentient things like rocks, cars, and cell phones–have value only to the extent we value them.  Some others–humans and sentient nonhumans–value themselves even if no one else values them.  Inherent value is the name we given to the moral recognition of that valuation.”

“Vegan food: easy, cheap, fast, healthy, delicious.  Don’t let anyone tell you anything to the contrary.”

“Every sentient being values her/his life even if no one else does.  That is what is meant by saying that the lives of all have inherent value.”

" the fact that I do not know on what side of the line to place insects does not relieve me of my moral obligation to the animals whom I do know are sentient."

To maintain that there is a moral distinction between eating flesh and eating dairy, eggs, or other animal products is as silly as maintaining that there is a moral distinction between eating large cows and eating small cows.

As long as more than 99% of people think that it is acceptable to consume animal products, nothing will ever really change for animals
A shorthand way of describing the view presented here is to say that all sentient beings should have at least one right—the right not to be treated as property. If we recognized this one right, we would be compelled to abolish institutionalized animal exploitation. We would stop bringing domesticated nonhumans into existence for human use.

" the moral baseline of an animal rights movement is veganism. Veganism is not merely a matter of diet; it is a moral and political commitment to abolition on the individual level and extends not only to matters of food, but to clothing and other products, and to other personal actions and choices. It is important to recognize that just as an abolitionist with respect to human slavery cannot continue to be a slaveowner, an abolitionist with respect to animal slavery cannot continue to consume or use animal flesh or animal products."

All flesh eaters benefit from the alienated labor of the bitches, chicks, (mad) cows, and sows
whose own bodies represent their labor and whose names reveal a double enslavement – the literal reproduction forced upon them, and the metaphoric enslavement that conveys female denigration, so that we human females become animals through insults, we become the bitches, chicks, cows, and sows, terms in  which our bodies or movements are placed within an interpretative climate in which female freedom is not to be envisioned."

I am a vegan-feminist because I am one animal among many, and I don’t wish to
impose a hierarchy of consumption upon this relationship. Let the worms eat me
when I am dead, and let the worms eat the bodies of the animals usually destined for
human mouths. When I say I am vegan-feminist because I am one animal among
many, I am not articulating a manifesto based on otherness. If we begin by saying,
‘we are animals, we move in animal bodies, we are connected to and related to – kin
 and akin to animals’ – then I don’t think we see animals as others. What we are
writing about, gesturing toward, is not a resituating of animals as ‘others.’"



From Brian A. Dominick Animal Liberation and Social Revolution

" veganism is the conscious abstinence from actions which contribute, directly or indirectly, to the suffering of sentient beings, be they animals or humans, for ethical reasons"

"The meat industry will not be destroyed until market capitalism is destroyed, for it is the latter which provides impetus and initiative to the former. And to capitalists, the prospect of easy profits from animal exploitation is irresistible. "
"The profit motive is not the only social factor which encourages animal exploitation. Indeed, economics is only one form of social relationship. We also have political, cultural and interpersonal relationships, each of which can be demonstrated to influence the perception that animals exist for use by humans. "
"Male dominance in the form of patriarchy and speciesism brought about by anthropocentrism has been exposed with poetic clarity by Carol Adams in her book The Sexual Politics of Meat. Feminism and veganism have much in common, and each has plenty to teach to and learn from the other. After drawing concrete comparisons between the patriarchal perspective and treatment of animals, Adams describes and calls for recognition of the deep connection between vegan and feminist lifestyles."
"One comparison between interpersonal relations and human-animal relations which has not been thoroughly examined, to my knowledge, includes the adult treatment of children and young people, as well as the adult treatment of the elderly. In each case, the oppressed is seen as someone not in possession of full agency for her or his actions. For instance, children and old folks alike are seen as feeble and incompetent (regardless of their actual potential for responsibility). Ageism is rooted in something I call adultocracy, which refers to the notion that adulthood is possessed of a certain quality of responsibility not found in the aged or young. Like animals, those oppressed by ageism are treated as objects devoid of individual character and value. They are exploited whenever possible, spoiled when deemed “cute,” but almost never given the respect offered adult humans. That children, the elderly and animals are living, thinking, sentient beings is somehow lost in the adult quest for dominance and power. Not unlike patriarchy, adultocracy doesn’t require formal hierarchy: it asserts its dominance by convincing its victims they are indeed less valid than their adult oppressors. Non-humans, too, can be easily invalidated. Simply depriving them of any freedom to develop individual character is a major step in that direction"
"There is no question that the state is on the side of those who exploit animals. With a few exceptions, the law is decidedly anti-animal. This is demonstrated as much by government subsidization of the meat and dairy industries, of vivisection[7] and military use of non-humans, as by its opposition to those who resist the animal exploitation industry. The politician will never understand why the state should protect animals. After all, every sphere of social life condones and encourages their abuse. Acting in the present “interests” of (human) constituencies will always translate, however absurdly, into acting against the interests of the animal kingdom, a vast constituency which has yet to receive the right to vote. "
"That in mind, we can see clearly why abuse of animals—whether directly, as is the case regarding the mistreatment of pets, or indirectly, as through the process of meat eating—correlates to social violence. Humans who are mistreated themselves tend to mistreat others, and animals are among the easiest, most defenseless victims. This exposes yet another reason social oppression must be struggled against by those concerned for the welfare of animals. "
"It is absurd to think that a society which oppresses non-human animals will be able to become a society which does not oppress humans. Recognizing animal oppression thus becomes a prerequisite to radical social change"
"The vegan understands that human exploitation and consumption of animals is facilitated by alienation. People would not be able to live the way they do—ie, at the expense and suffering of animals—were they to understand the real effects of such consumption. This is precisely why late capitalism has entirely removed the consumer from the process of production. The torture goes on elsewhere, behind (tightly) closed doors. Allowed to empathize with the victims of species oppression, humans would not be able to go about their lives as they presently do. "
"In everyday life, we are alienated from the results of our most basic actions. When we purchase a food product at the grocery store, we can read the ingredients list and usually tell whether animals were murdered and/or tortured in the production process. But what do we learn of the people who made that product? Were the women paid less than the men? Were blacks subjugated by whites on the factory floor? Was a union or collectivization effort among employees crushed? Were a hundred slaughtered on a picket line for demanding a living wage? "
"As a key component to the perpetuation of oppression, all alienation must be destroyed. As long as we can ignore the suffering in the slaughter house and vivisector’s laboratory, we can ignore the conditions in the Third World countryside, the urban ghetto, the abusive household, the authoritarian classroom, and so on. The ability to ignore any oppressions is the ability to ignore any other oppression/s. "
"As visionary, the vegan sees a world free of animal exploitation. Further, she sees a truly peaceful and sane relationship between human society and its natural environment. The deep ecology movement has shown us that non-animal nature has value which cannot be quantified in economic terms, just as vegans have demonstrated the worth of non-human animals, a worth that cannot be calculated by economists, only measured by human compassion. That compassion, demonstrated for the proletariat by socialists, for women and queers by feminists, for people of color and marginalized ethnicities by intercommunalists, for the young and aged by youthists, and for those at the end of the state’s gun barrel by libertarians, is the same compassion as that felt by vegans and radical environmentalists toward the non-human world. That each of us needs to become all of these “types” of radicals—and to incorporate their ideologies into one, holistic theory, vision, strategy and practice—is a truism we can no longer afford to ignore. Only a perspective and lifestyle based on true compassion can destroy the oppressive constructs of present society and begin anew in creating desirable relationships and realities. This, to me, is the essence of anarchy. No one who fails to embrace all struggles against oppression as her or his own fits my definition of an anarchist. That may seem like a lot to ask, but I will never stop asking it of every human being."
"I’m the first to be disgusted by those stodgy radicals, mostly of the “old school,” who proclaim lifestyle changes must, at the very least, take a back seat to the “real” work of social change, which is limited to the restructuring of social institutions. Still, their critique of those who, on the opposite end, believe personal change will actually be the revolution when practiced on a large scale, is rather important. We must avoid either extreme."

Thursday, 1 January 2015

Thoughts on Animal Liberation.

Been reading,







The Documentary Earthlings, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ibuQ-J04eLQ- Absolutely harrowing and horrible but very comprehensive.


http://www.abolitionistapproach.com/- Gary Francione

Some initial thoughts.....

Philosophical points.

the question is not, Can they reason? nor, Can they talk? but, Can they suffer?  - Jeremy Bentham.

Humans are not the centre of the universe. I'm against Anthropocentrism. We are neither less than animal nor more important than them.

Animals are different from us in some ways but like us in others. They may not have all the same desires or the same capabilities but they  want to be able to move about freely, they want to be free from pain etc....

The Big question: Since animals for human consumption and use are abused systematically and institutionally is eating or using animal products morally wrong?
-More and more I say yes.

the way we distance ourselves from how our food is processed is like commodity fetishism where we treat the products we buy as if they come to us by magic ignoring how they are produced by exploited workers often in sweatshops.

It is a generally sound moral principle that: as much as is possible suffering should be avoided and/or prevented.

"In Sikhism, "consumption of any meat killed in a ritualistic manner" is strictly prohibited, therefore prohibiting both halal and kosher meat."

Sikhism and Hinduism oppose ritual animal slaughter like Halal and Kosher.

Kosher and Halal killing of animals is inhumane.

I think speciesism exists.

Animals cannot be owned.

I'm against factory farms, battery hens, fox hunting, blood sports, hunting for sport, bull fighting, circus animals, zoos, fur, whaling,

Even free range eggs involve animal cruelty.

is it wrong to keep pets?

Would there be animal over-population though? What about animals which spread diseases?

Can all animals be deserving of equal respect?
 Surely we have a right to defend ourselves against animals.

the antibiotics required on factory farms etc is reducing humans use of these antibiotics and how effective they are. We are slowly killing ourselves.

the lack of respect ,the brutuality and the lack of compassion required for industrialized meat production/consumption surely has knock-on effects in terms of how humans relate to each other and treat each other. I'd imagine in creates more violent less caring societies.

Abolitionism vs reformism/animal welfarism.

reforming the way we treat animals maintains the system, makes it maintain it's legitimacy, makes it seem democratic and accountable, maintains the principle animals are their for our use.

Animal welfare complex masks animal cruelty and is reformist not revolutionary/abolitionist.
Welfare organisations collaborate with capitalism encouraging 'humane animal consumption' i.e. they are consumerist, co-opted by the state and capitalism.

"Producing "humane" animal products requires at least double the amount of land required for the industrialized style of farming adopted in wealthy countries over the last several decades. In some cases, it takes several times more land to convert to "humane" methods. "

 "Humane" animal products are being sold to us as a means of doing something good while being able to continue living the same lifestyle that has brought our planet to the edge of ecological disaster. While they may provide pleasure to our palate and a salve for our conscience, these products simply do not solve any of the problems that need to be addressed by our species if we are to live on this planet in a just and sustainable manner. "

In the context of wider struggles.

Animal rights is a feminist issue. Cows are harvested for their milk and chickens for eggs. Harvesting of female animal organs. Like in Patriarchy.

Capitalism and animal rights are inseparable. Capitalism means meat is profitable. If meat is profit and it's cheaper to allow or ignore abuse or even encourage it then capitalism will never end animal cruelty. In capitalism corners will always be cut so there will always be animal abuses no matter how many reforms are made or laws passed. Only the end of capitalism can protect animals.

Meat production/consumption is bad for the environment, 
"The production of meat and other animal products places a heavy burden on the environment - from crops and water required to feed the animals, to the transport and other processes involved from farm to fork. The vast amount of grain feed required for meat production is a significant contributor to deforestation, habitat loss and species extinction. On the other hand, considerably lower quantities of crops and water are required to sustain a vegan diet, making the switch to veganism one of the easiest, most enjoyable and most effective ways to reduce our impact on the environment."(The Vegan Society)

"Positive-sounding labels are guaranteed to increase sales of more expensive "humane" products, but the evidence suggests that this is where the guarantees end. "

I'm not sure about the Holocaust animal cruelty comparisons. They can be too simplistic.


Veganism with it's abolitionism is very close to anarchism.

Veganism should not just be ethical consumerism but a way of life.

Veganism is better for the environment. Soy milk is better than cows milk.

Not everyone can be healthy and vegan. So some people are exempt from it.

If the option was between starvation and remaining vegan or going against veganism, I think going against veganism is okay. The principle is to enhance life not to destroy it even if to ignore it destroys some life sadly.

"Why vegetarian isn't enough
The suffering caused by the dairy and egg industry is possibly less well publicised than the plight of factory farmed animals. The production of dairy products necessitates the death of countless male calves that are of no use to the dairy farmer, as well as the premature death of cows slaughtered when their milk production decreases. Similarly, in the egg industry, even 'ethical' or 'free range' eggs involve the killing of the 'unnecessary' male chicks when just a day old.

Ethical meat?

It's tempting to want to believe that the meat we eat is ethical, that our 'food animals' have lived full, happy lives and that they have experienced no pain or fear at the slaughterhouse. Yet the sad truth is that all living creatures (even those labelled 'free range' or 'organic') fear death, just as we do. No matter how they are treated when alive, they all experience the same fear when it comes to slaughter."


Great Description of Anarchism.

Anarchism is the most critical kind of thinking there is. Anarchism is the most free thinking political philosophy there is. It asks that the whole way of society be re-thought.

(From Workers Solidarity Movement-WSM-of Ireland)

...We stand for both political and economic freedom.

  • Economic freedom. Everyone should have equal access to goods and services regardless of their ability to pay for them.

It is disgusting that we live in a world where Paul Allen can sail his $200 million yacht around the same Mediterrian that thousands of desperate poor migrants have drowned in while trying to cross from Africa to Europe. A further 2600 almost drowned on Xmas eve and day in two separate incidents.

  • Political freedom. Instead of politicians elected or otherwise telling us what to do everyone affected by a decision should have equal power in making that decision.
We want to see the end of the political system that allows the likes of Enda Kenny to lie to get into power and then impose austerity on the rest of us.

These are not really two separate points, economic wealth and political power go hand in hand. If you have one power you get access to wealth and vice versa. This understanding is one of the main things that separates anarchism from the rest of the left, it is why we think its a dead end to get people elected into power. We will never ask you to vote for us.

These two simple points are the basis of anarchism. At the same time they manage to sound both obvious and impossible. Often people will argue anarchism runs against against 'Human nature.' But actually this society we have created where some are rich and powerful while the vast majority work to get by is very new. It's only in the last 10,000 years that this is how things have worked. That is only 5% of the time that modern humans have existed on the planet. For 95% of that time economic and political inequality were virtually unknown.

The sort of society we think of today as the product of inevitable 'human nature' is in fact the product of thousands of years of highly organized warfare and brutality.

At root anarchism is the organized expression of this struggle for economic and political freedom. Not, of course, as a return to the societies that existed 10,000 years ago. But of the coming together of the long river of human resistance to class society in order to create a new world, a global society of freedom for all.
Today the anarchist movement is found everywhere, on every continent and perhaps in every country.

Libcom: Origins of the Police.

Such a good article!

Origins of the Police by David Whitehouse.

Some of the best bits

  • "Outdoor life was—and is—especially important to working-class politics. Established politicians and corporate managers can meet indoors and make decisions that have big consequences because these people are in command of bureaucracies and workforces. But when working people meet and make decisions about how to change things, it usually doesn’t count for much unless they can gather some supporters out on the street, whether it’s for a strike or a demonstration. The street is the proving ground for much of working-class politics, and the ruling class is fully aware of that. That’s why they put the police on the street as a counter-force whenever the working class shows its strength.
    Now we can look at the connections between the two major forms of police activity—routine patrols and crowd control. The day-to-day life of patrolling gets police accustomed to using violence and the threat of violence. This gets them ready to pull off the large-scale acts of repression that are necessary when workers and the oppressed rise up in larger groups. It’s not just a question of getting practice with weapons and tactics. Routine patrol work is crucial to creating a mindset among police that their violence is for the greater good.
    The day-to-day work also allows commanders to discover which cops are most comfortable inflicting pain—and then to assign them to the front lines when it comes to a crackdown. At the same time, the “good cop” you may meet on the beat provides crucial public-relations cover for the brutal work that needs to be done by the “bad cops.” Routine work can also become useful in periods of political upheaval because the police have already spent time in the neighborhoods trying to identify the leaders and the radicals."
  • "The system for poor relief made a crucial contribution to the creation of the market for wage labor. The key function of the relief system was to make unemployment so unpleasant and humiliating that people were willing to take ordinary jobs at very low wages just to avoid unemployment. By punishing the poorest people, capitalism creates a low baseline for the wage scale and pulls the whole scale downward."
  • "In fact, the concepts of good citizenship that came out of school reform movement were perfectly aligned with the concepts of criminology that were being invented to categorize people on the street. The police were to focus not just on crime but on criminal types—a method of profiling backed up by supposedly scientific credentials.The “juvenile delinquent,” for example, is a concept that is common to schooling and policing—and has helped to link the two activities in practice."
  • "Police activity thus goes beyond simple repression—it “teaches” an ideology of good and bad citizenship that dovetails with the lessons of the classroom and the workhouse"
  • "The overall point here is that the invention of the police was part of a broader expansion of state activity to gain control over the day-to-day behavior of the working class. Schooling, poor relief and police work all aimed to shape workers to become useful to—and loyal to—the capitalist class."
  • "The law has many more provisions than they actually use, so their enforcement is always selective. That means that they are always profiling what part of the population to target and choosing which kinds of behavior they want to change. It also means that cops have a permanent opportunity for corruption. If they have discretion over who gets picked up for a crime, they can demand a reward for not picking somebody up."